Jamie Driscoll Standing as Independent for North East Mayor After Labour Betrayal

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Jamie Driscoll, Keir Starmer
Jamie Driscoll, Keir Starmer

Jamie Driscoll confirms he is standing as an independent candidate for north-east mayor

Jamie Driscoll, the left-wing regional mayor of the North of Tyne, has made the decision to part ways with the Labour Party following what he perceives as a betrayal in the north-east mayor race. Driscoll had been excluded from the race after his appearance alongside Ken Loach, the renowned film director and former Labour member. The move has ignited a contentious factionalism dispute within the party.

Labour figures have suggested that Driscoll’s candidacy was blocked because he took part in an event with Loach, who was expelled from the party in 2021. Driscoll interviewed Loach at the Live Theatre in Newcastle upon Tyne in March, where the two discussed the films Loach has made in the north-east, including I, Daniel Blake and Sorry We Missed You.

The people are behind Jamie, raising £50,000 in just over four hours for his campaign

In a statement released on Monday, Driscoll expressed his frustration with the control exerted by Westminster and party headquarters, citing broken pledges by Labour leader Keir Starmer. Shortly after announcing his resignation, a crowd funder initiated by Driscoll quickly surpassed an astonishing £50,000, demonstrating a groundswell of support. The campaign is now striving towards a new goal of £150,000.

Driscoll’s scathing resignation letter, publicly shared on Twitter, addressed Starmer directly, accusing him of reneging on numerous promises. These included commitments to tackle the climate emergency, provide free school meals, abolish university tuition fees, and reverse NHS privatisation.

Driscoll gave Starmer a few home truths, saying:

“In 2020 you told me to my face that you would ‘inspire people to come together … disciplining people to be united is going nowhere’. You’ve broken that promise,” said Driscoll, often described as “the last Corbynista in power” since becoming the first mayor for North of Tyne in 2019.
“You’ve U-turned on so many promises: £28bn to tackle the climate emergency, free school meals, ending university tuition fees, reversing NHS privatisation; in fact, a list of broken promises too long to repeat in this letter.”

Standing for the people, not the Party

Drawing a parallel to Ken Livingstone’s successful 2000 independent run for London mayor, Driscoll emphasised his belief in appealing to voters across the political spectrum, highlighting his support for working people and progressive patriotism.

Dismissive of concerns that his independent candidacy may split the vote and benefit the Tories, Driscoll asserted that there is a considerable groundswell of support, not only from disenchanted Labour members but also from community groups and individuals who feel unheard by traditional politics.

Driscoll’s cause has garnered backing from other Labour mayors, including Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram, who criticised the party for undemocratic practices and unfair treatment. Trade union Unite also weighed in, condemning the Labour Party’s national executive committee for blocking Driscoll’s candidacy, purportedly due to his advocacy for the renationalisation of utilities.

Jamie Driscoll enjoys an enormous amount of support in the North East. He stated:

"The only ‘whip' should be the people. The North East needs an experienced, independent voice. Even if you don’t live here, this affects you. Our politics is a mess. Millions feel no one speaks for them. Politicians should answer to you, not to party bosses in London HQs." Since my barring by Labour Party, I’ve received overwhelming support. 
The cry for me to run as an independent has come from business leaders, community workers, trade unionists and politicians cross party. People have stopped me in the street asking me to run!" "This is not a time for faint hearts. It’s a time for bravery. If you back me, I’ll run. If I run, we can win. #ShyBairnsGetNowt.

Driscoll dismissed any suggestion that his move could split the vote to the advantage of the Tories, adding that he believed he would appeal to voters from across the spectrum, who would be attracted by his “support for working people and strong views on progressive patriotism”. Asked where he would find workers to support his campaign, Driscoll said:

“The Labour Party has expelled thousands of people already and many have left, but there are also many people out there from community groups who are not in parties. There really is a huge groundswell of support out there, which has surprised me.”

The North East, known for its strong tradition of Labour values and socialist camaraderie, is witnessing a shift away from the right wing London-centric Labour. Under Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership, the vibrant red flag of the party appears to be fading into a shade of Tory blue.

Having personally collaborated with Jamie Driscoll on the Pits Politics and People Facebook site, in association with the Durham Miners Gala, Labour Heartlands fully endorses and supports Driscoll’s aspirations to once again become the Mayor of the North East.

To learn more about Jamie Driscoll’s vision for the future and his campaign, visit his website. HERE

This is a time that calls for courage, not timidity. With your support, Driscoll believes victory is attainable, and so do we! #ShyBairnsGetNowt

Help support Jamie Driscoll for North East Mayor Here

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